Internet in Spain, my experience

I need internet to work. Let me define what internet means. It means web for search and info, ssh & vpn for various connections and skype for messaging and voice. . This is some info I gathered searching for internet in Spain.

1. 3G. This should seem the easiest solution. Buy a prepayed 3G sim (internet prepago tarjeta) and you’re ok. But:

  • not all operators allow you to buy such a sim. At first glance the best offer seems to be Orange offering a 1 month/2G sim but this is only available if you have an Orange contract. And such a contract requires residence. HUH!
  • check coverage. Orange and Vodafone have online maps to check coverage. But they do not offer the full info, they can only be used to eliminate. In an area Vodafone claimed 3G support and indeed my phone shows full 3G signal. However ping is 3000 – 6000 ms (like around 4 s). The best way to test is to use you sim with data roaming for a basic test. It might be a bit costly but it will avoid you buying an useless sim.
  • Skype is blocked more or less by all operators. By experience Vodafone blocks skype voip calls but messages work. It seems more than port blocking since socks proxying does not work either. Some sources on the net claim Yoigo and Movistar might block skype completely (did not tested myself).
  • all prepay sims require an Id card.
  • finally I chose Vodafone. A 1G card is around 20 EUR. I lasted for about 2 weeks by limiting everything to a minimum. It worked quite fast in some areas and quite slow in others but it showed 3G all over.

2. ADSL. It seems there are still places where people are convinced they have great internet. It might be great but in the north-Aragon area I tested several “alta velocidad” ADSL from Movistar and the speed was around 1M (using Might be a localized problem. Anyway the lowest contract is around 20EUR/month but with a 1year contract. Not useful if you plan to stay just a few weeks.

3. Bars, restaurants, libraries. You might find some internet, most likely filtered in bars or restaurants but if you need a quiet place an unusual place for me was the university or local library. They will likely give you 1 day access with no questions by presenting and Id card. Usually just web but it’s understandable in this case.

One Response

  1. I struggled with this too. Cause me a huge headache, until I discovered MasMovil. Problem solved. The ENCOURAGE use of Skype (VoiP)!!

    You can even go on contract with them and “park” your account when you are not in Spain, which is great for people who go there every year for a few months. Check it out!

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